PROFILE

Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

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  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    CVS gets real without retouching in new beauty campaign

    Absolutely it does! It is perfectly fine to do so in an age which we talk so much about natural beauty, natural resources, and the outdoors. No need to touch up the pics. Whether it stimulates sales or not is another story, but it might well do that with consumers to whom those things are important. Others will follow.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Best Buy and Amazon expand their coopetition

    We are seeing that necessity of the times makes strange bedfellows. There was a time when Macy's would NOT tell Gimbels!
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Honoring women

    This is another socio-political problem, not exclusive to retail. Biases exist in sex, race, age, and religion. Eradicating bias has been going on for years and it has been slower than necessary. We are now reaching a semi-revolutionary stage when it comes to eradicating bias against women. Leaders have to first recognize and accept that it exists, then they have to take a pro-active, ethical stand, then they have to implement the policies that are clear and repeated like a mantra within the organization. Starbucks just came to that conclusion the hard way. It is about time.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Does Walmart need to keep Jet.com around?

    There are two statements in this discussion that, I believe, answer the question. One statement is the obvious -- Walmart acquired e-tailer talent almost overnight and I suspect most of those people are still gainfully employed, even if not necessarily supporting Jet.com any longer. The second is the acquisition of a long Jet.com customer list, maybe including consumers who might not otherwise have been Walmart customers, and whom Walmart can now reach directly and try to steer them in the direction of Walmart, their omnichannel retailer. As some have said, maybe it doesn't matter what happens to Jet.com, the name. Nobody cares what happened to Kinkos when FedEx took it in.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Brands find unexpected opportunities to reach next-gen customers

    This points to a generational gap. The new brands, launched by a younger set of entrepreneurs than existing, larger, more traditional retailers and brands are more in tune with the Millennials and Gen-X members and more likely to understand (feel) how to reach them.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Dyson believes in showroom stores

    The concept of the showroom is an interesting one, but is probably only effective in the high-end market. Witness Kohler in the Flatiron district in New York and PIRCH showrooms in CA (closed in NYC). These are truly experiential showrooms where potential customers (decorators and subcontractors as well) can see, feel, and try the products, and then talk about them to others. But the expense of the real estate and staff to demonstrate products has to be offset by high margin dollars. Others will catch on, but I predict that there will not be a flood of them. A few in carefully-selected areas is my prediction.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    REI lifts the sustainability bar

    This is more of a socio-political question than a retail question. I applaud REI and the few companies like them who have strong environmental values and stick to them. If every business in the U.S. were as conscious and self-regulating about such matters, we wouldn't need an EPA. Regrettably, such is not the case. Oftentimes costs/profits trump the environment (you should pardon the expression).
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    I see we're still having fun with this one...
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    Columbus wasn't looking for, but stumbled onto America. That's like me searching for a TV and winding up buying a pair of slacks. It was Amerigo Vespucci who figured out what Columbus had really done (discovered a new continent). That IS funny.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    My reply came in late, but you can see that we're on the same wave length (or farther away from the much younger generation)...
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    One can’t compare selecting movies from Netflix to finding a dress somewhere online. AI and machine learning will work in specific destinations, where the customer may have a true purchase history. The next question is: why do I want to buy a dress while I am on my phone? I could see buying last-minute theater tickets while I am on my smartphone. Certain online purchase excursions are much easier done from a desktop or tablet (because of the bigger screen, for one).
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

    Deliver the service for which the retailer is already known while selling expensive products of high perceived value. The assortment can't be moderately priced because of the high cost of doing business, but the customer will have to be willing to pay the price.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Barnes & Noble’s crowdsourcing app engages readers and earns solid reviews

    Insofar as more of the retail business is taking on an experiential emphasis, the app should generate interest in Barnes & Noble. While it appears that the app does not really guarantee that the readers will purchase from Barnes & Noble, it may create some loyalty to the brand and drive some purchases in its direction.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    That joke IS an oldie but a goodie!
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    "Significant" is an intangible. MoviePass will have a positive impact on movie attendance and on mall traffic. The company has to stay in business long enough to prove it. And they will have to prove their impact if they expect theaters and malls to cut revenue-sharing deals. This one falls under wait and see.

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